The owner of a central Auckland dairy robbed at gunpoint has praised the sole staff member, an 18-year-old, for their bravery.
At roughly 2:30pm on Saturday, an armed man robbed the Vincent Mini Mart on Vincent Street, fleeing the scene with a wad of cash.
The man stood behind a shelving unit while the young staff member served two customers, Detective Sergeant Vanessa Pratt told Newshub.
When the customers left, the man approached the counter, presented his firearm at the staff member and demanded money.
He left the shop, turned right on Vincent Street, and walked in the direction of the Hopetoun Bridge, Det Sgt Pratt said.
The aggravated robbery is currently under investigation.
Speaking to Newshub on Monday, the dairy owner's wife, who did not want to be identified, said the 18-year-old was a trainee working his first weekend shift.
"We had a new trainee, he is 18, and he was getting training at the shop," she explained.
However, the teenager will not be returning to the shop following the incident.
"He's not coming back to work. I totally understand the feelings of his parents, I'm a mum myself. I just don't want him to feel traumatised. I would really like him to come back again, even for one day, with me and my husband around... I don't want him to have this as a last memory of this area and the shop," she said.
She praised the teenager for remaining calm during the robbery and alerting the police via an in-store alarm button.
"He is very brave," she said. "He was really courageous... I'm sorry that it was traumatising for him and his parents. He's a very bright and brave young boy. He went through this and he did the right thing."
The couple like to help out locals by allowing struggling shoppers to pay for their groceries at a later date, she explained. She and her husband would have helped the suspect if he had reached out.
"We would not hesitate to help out... had he reached out and said he wanted a meal or something, we wouldn't have hesitated to help him."
Police are now looking to speak with the two customers who were in the dairy at about 2:30pm, Det Sgt Pratt said.
"We also want to hear from anyone who might have information that can assist."
Police can be contacted via 105, quoting file number 210123/0838 - or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.